Pope Francis: ‘We cannot be indifferent’ to people caught in drug addiction


Pope Francis gives the weekly Angelus address on Aug. 27, 2023. / Vatican Media.

Rome Newsroom, Aug 27, 2023 / 09:40 am (CNA).

Pope Francis said on Sunday we are called to act like Jesus and cannot be indifferent to the situations that lead people, especially adolescents, into drug addiction.

“Behind every addiction there are concrete experiences, stories of loneliness, inequality, exclusion, lack of integration,” he said. “Faced with these situations, we cannot be indifferent.”

“The Lord Jesus stopped, became close, healed wounds,” the pope said in a message to toxicologists Aug. 27 for the 60th International Congress of Forensic Toxicologists in Rome Aug. 27-31.

“In the style of his closeness,” he continued, “we too are called to act, to stop before situations of fragility and pain, to know how to listen to the cry of loneliness and anguish, to bend down to lift and bring back to new life those who fall into the bondage of drugs.”

Francis underlined in his message that it is often teens and young adults who fall into addiction, especially in a society in which they are “deprived of points of reference” during a delicate phase in their lives “characterized by significant changes at the physical, emotional and social levels.”

“Many young people pursue the illusion of finding in drug use a suspension from anguish and lack of meaning: it is the ‘vain hope’ of a stupor that relieves them of the fatigue of being and existing, often concealed under the disguise of a desire for escapism and fun,” he said.

“The phenomenon of drug and psychotropic substance abuse continues to cause alarm and concern.”

Pope Francis also drew attention to the problem of new psychoactive substances (NPS) — drugs designed to mimic established illegal drugs, such as cocaine, MDMA, and LSD, but made with different chemical structures to avoid bans.

NPS have a “rapidly expanding market and uncertain toxicological effects and serious public health consequences,” he said. “The ease of chemically modifying such substances then enables organized crime to evade legal controls, making it more difficult to detect the illicit compounds.”

He said it is extremely important to develop treatment plans and ways of curbing the proliferation of NPS, especially because many young people abuse them without knowing their danger.

The pope also lamented an increase in doping in the sports industry.

He said the use of doping substances in sports “manifests the obsession with achieving major goals and performance results at all costs” and indicates something even more deeply rooted: “a culture of efficiency and productivity that does not allow for hesitation and failure.”

“The need to always appear to live up to expectations, exhibiting to the outside world a self-image that is high-performing and successful, from which all frailty and weakness is banished, becomes an insurmountable obstacle to the pursuit of integral human development,” he said.

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  1. In complete support for this message, and understanding the despair that lies behind addictive escapism—yours truly wonders whether drug abuse should be alphabetized and aggregated?

    What if the not-real and new psychoactive substances (NPS), for example, are simply aggregated with real drugs as in NPS-C-MPMA-LSD? And, what if the case then is made that NPS addiction might yet remain unsanctioned—and even “blessed” in some way? The same way that alphabetized and aggregated LGBTQA addiction is attached to real marriage and then seeks a blessing for unreal “gay marriage”?

    For an answer, should we channel the synodal reporter general Cardinal Hollerich and synodal guru Fr. Jiminy-Cricket Martin? Hollerich, at least, no longer seeks to overturn Church teaching about binary sexual reality, but does look for a change in “attitude.” Meaning what, exactly? As for Jiminy-Cricket Martin’s fluid spirit of accompaniment/accommodation—and as the saying goes, “sauce for a [male] goose is sauce for a [female] gander, AND now is sauce for the third option, and for whatever!

    In all underlying “concrete experiences, stories of loneliness, inequality, exclusion, lack of integration [Pope Francis]”—and then addictive escapes into unreality—there’s the graced invitation and narrow path of Christ, the “concrete universal.” A higher and deeper and more healing path than any therapeutic adjustment of “attitude” alone, against the diabolical betrayal of both God and the real self.

  2. We need to reopen mental hospitals ASAP. There’s a relentless circle of mental/emotional illness & addiction. Society can do a lot better than watching homeless addicts overdose in our streets.

  3. But of course, we cannot build a border wall to help stem the flood of illegal drugs ravaging the nation, especially the poor. That would be too “rigid,” no doubt.

    • Drugs do enter hidden in migrant backpacks but the overwhelming majority come right through official US border crossings concealed in vehicles including 18 wheelers. You can smuggle an enormous amount of contraband that way. US citizens often smuggle drugs purchased in Mexico. And we provide the guns & ammo to the cartels.
      It takes two sides to smuggle successfully.

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